Krause's Candy: The sweetest place in Colonie

Truffles truffles truffles.

Nom nom nom.

By Akum Norder

Love is great. No question there. But then there's ... chocolate.

The beauty of Valentine's Day is that it lets us indulge in both.

If you prefer your tokens of affection be coated in milk or dark chocolate, then nudge your sweetheart toward Krause's, 1609 Central Ave. in Colonie.

The local candymaker has been sweetening Capital Region life for 25 years. Recently Tom Krause, the owner, gave us a mouthwatering tour.

Krause's montage.

Krause's started in Albany in 1986, on Central Ave. near West Lawrence Street. In 1996 they moved to a larger space in Colonie.

But the family sweet tooth has (ahem) deeper roots than that. Three generations of Krauses have delighted taste buds around the Northeast.

In 1929, Tom's grandfather Alfred Krause came to New York from Germany and opened a candy store in Long Island. Tom remembers visiting his grandfather's candy shop as a child. "I could go in and eat whatever I wanted. Heaven. I think that's where I was imprinted."

The local Krause's is not a huge operation: They employ around 15 full- and part-time workers. The place is a little like how a kid might expect a candy factory to look like: The production room walls feature murals of bright, cheerful sweets. People are smiling. There's music playing. The six-pack of Saranac Black Forest sitting on the counter made us think, wow, this place really is laid back -- but no, it's for Krause's beer brittle, available only twice a year, for Father's Day and the Super Bowl.

They make a wide range of products, more than you might think possible given the size of their production space: Hard candy, fudge, brittle, all kinds of chocolate novelties -- and truffles. Oh, the truffles.

When we visited they were boiling syrup to make the cream centers for orange cream truffles. The room smelled heavenly. (Yes, I'd like to think heaven smells a bit like orange candy.)

Simmering kettle.

Working with syrup, Tom said, "is all about controlling crystallization." If you've ever tried making candy at home, you know what he means. Get it wrong and the whole batch gets grainy -- or turns into a solid lump. Oh, have I been there.

The kettle swings across the room on a metal arm to pour the syrup onto a water-cooled mixing table. It's misted with water, then kneaded and turned. Perfectly smooth.

Stirring the orange cream.

After other ingredients are mixed in, this orange cream will have a date with the truffle press.

Krause's uses a German truffle press that can put a filling inside of a filling. This lets them make things like strawberry cheesecake truffles -- cheesecake ganache nestled inside of strawberry ganache, all enrobed in chocolate. Isn't technology grand?

This magnificent machine inspired us to ask what exciting flavor combinations they could create with it. Cinnamon chipotle? Dark chocolate rosemary?

Tom shook his head. "Albany is traditional in its tastes," he said. More of a peanut-butter-and-chocolate kind of town.

Krause's tried spicy chocolate truffles; they didn't sell. Chocolate-covered bacon didn't sell. Even sea salt-sprinkled dark caramel truffles didn't sell. (Pause to wipe drool from corners of mouth.)

Confections made with lavender, rosewater, or wasabi may get raves in New York City, Tom said, but in Albany? They'd just sit in the case.

Making truffle centers.

Albany's favorite truffles are the plain chocolate ones, milk or dark. But even those aren't their best-seller: Krause's most popular candy is buttercrunch. With almonds roasted in the batch and perhaps a zillion pounds of butter, it's marvelous -- like, eyes-roll-back-into-your-head marvelous.

Though Valentine's Day -- actually, Feb. 13th -- is Krause's busiest day of the year, Valentine's is not their busiest holiday. That would be Christmas. Second place goes to Easter: Every year they make 24,000 peeps, one at a time.

That's also the season that lets them roll out Titus, their biggest bunny mold. Seriously, this guy would dwarf some toddlers we know. If made with solid chocolate, Titus weighs 80 lbs. Hollow, he's 35 lbs. Still more than enough to treat the neighborhood, and maybe the neighboring neighborhood too.

But chocolate tastes good in every shape. Their library of chocolate molds contains thousands of designs, stored alphabetically by category. While we visited they were making cell phones, cars, and teddy bears.

And that's what struck us about Krause's: Their treats made in small batches, by a small group of local people, were a cure for the mass-produced, global-shipping blues.

And the fact that they're delicious? That's the icing on the cake.

...........................

Krause's products are available only in their Central Ave. store or through their Web site.

Krause's retail space.

Find It

Krause's Homemade Candy
1609 Central Ave.
Colonie, NY 12205

Comments

Best good old fashioned candy. They're turtles are to die for. I have only lived here for a year and already ate my weight in Krause's candy.

Don't post things like this when I am stuck at work, chocolate-less, for 5 more hours! Those look delicious! I can't take it!

"Krause's tried spicy chocolate truffles; they didn't sell. Chocolate-covered bacon didn't sell. Even sea salt-sprinkled dark caramel truffles didn't sell"

I have had all of the above (from other places) and loved them. Krause's, if you're listening, I PROMISE to buy the above treats if you make them again!

Consistently Delicious!!!

I love working at Krause's and I was very excited to see AOA write about us!

Krause's Chocolate Covered Candied Ginger does sell, is reasonably gourmet, spicy and delicious. I think Krause's knows their customer base and play to it perfectly, as indicated by their long history in the area.

Tropical Thunder Truffles at the Chocolate Gecko = Key Lime Cream side by side with Cayenne Dark Chocolate Ganache. Fabulous if you need a bit of spice with your chocolate.

Oh my. My mouth is watering. You've inspired me to get a piece of chocolate from the pantry, and later, a box or two from Krause's.

Great stuff, Akum!

love going there! our own local wonka land! tried making home made brigadears xmas. they were ok, not like my mom's .takes only 3 ingredients.:3 tablespoons coccoa powder,1 can condensed milk, 3 tablespoons butter.stir them together over a med hot pan. pour in a buttered container , let cool.( i wore surgical gloves, that i had buttered .) roll the choc balls in either cocoa powder, chopped nuts or coconut. then keep in the fridge . yoila!

Dear Krause's,

Your chocolate is amazing. I basically consume some kind of it ever other week.

If you love chocolate, you love Krauses. Period.

Krause's is one of the few chocolate stores I have been in, where people are smiling and happy to work there (and I've been in A LOT of chocolate stores).

Do you know those neat-freaks who can't let let a crumpled piece of paper sit beside them on the table? They MUST get up and put it in the recycling bin.

I'm that way about food.

Ganache is, "A rich chocolate icing made of semisweet chocolte and whipping cream that are heated and stirred together until the chocolate has melted."
Source: Food Lover's Companion

Ganache can be used to make chocolate truffles or it can be used to fill other confections. Ganache can also be flavored, but it must have a chocolate base.

Given my understanding of Krause's, I would seem to be highly unlikely that they are filling their truffles with "cheesecake ganache" or "strawberry ganache." Likely these flavors are "creams" instead.

I'm so sorry to hear that the salted caramel truffle didn't sell. But I do not think this can be blamed on the tastes of people in Albany. After all, more exotic flavors like the chai tea infused ganache chocolate Buddhas are a popular item at the Chocolate Gecko just down the road.

Thank you for letting me get all that off my chest. I'm feeling much better now.

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